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Businesses report boosts from Black Friday crowds

Profile image for By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer
By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer

Together, Elizabeth Gomez and her daughter, Yovani, carried a large JCPenney bag full of clothes they’d just purchased through the Golden Triangle Mall on Friday. Gomez had one handle and her 11-year-old daughter held the other as they made their way to Sears for more Black Friday deals.

But Sears was decidedly their last stop of the day.

Gomez, her daughter and her mother had started their Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving when Walmart opened at 8 p.m.

“We stood out there for the longest time,” Gomez said. But the three were able to get a deal on three televisions and a Nook for their efforts.

Gomez and her family shopped most of the night and morning along with millions of other people across the country.

“We took a break at 6 a.m.,” Gomez said.

This is the first year she’s gone to all the sales. She said she usually just goes to Walmart.

As they were walking through the mall at about 11 a.m. Friday, they said they’d just found some good deals on clothes at JCPenney.

The mall stores had staggered openings, starting with Sears at 8 p.m. Thursday. It was followed by many stores at midnight, Ross Dress for Less at 4 a.m., JCPenney and finally Dillard’s at 8 a.m.

“You have the waves of people coming in,” said Matt Ludemann, mall manager.

He said it slowed from 3 to 6 a.m. and picked up after that.

The mall does car counts each year, lumping Thursday and Friday together, and last year it had an estimated 40,000 visitors to the mall for Black Friday sales, Ludemann said.

The National Retail Federation estimated that about 147 million people would shop this weekend, according to its preliminary Black Friday survey.

There was a record 226 million shoppers during the same holiday weekend last year, according to the federation’s annual holiday forecast.

Official numbers from this weekend’s turnout won’t be available until next week.

Ivana Edwards made her second trip to the Target on Loop 288 on Friday morning after having been there for its early opening at 9 p.m. Thursday.

Edwards, her mom, Gina Terry, and her cousin, Sharnae Terry, had a strategy for their first trip. Each one took a different area of the store so they could get in and out quickly, Edwards said.

“We got everything we wanted,” she said.

After hitting a couple of other stores, they went home and took a nap before heading back to Target and returning an item.

“We’re just browsing to see what’s left over,” Edwards said.

Stacey Millar, a manager at Target, said opening earlier wasn’t a big deal.

“It went smoothly,” she said.

The electronic items, such as televisions and gaming consoles, went the quickest after the store opened, Millar said.

Kensey Chase stopped in to Target to buy a couple of items for her nephew Friday morning.

Chase said she’d never shopped on Black Friday before.

“I can’t stand to wait in lines very long,” she said.

That’s why she waited until later in the morning to venture out.

Across Loop 288 at Best Buy, employees helped customers load televisions and other large electronic items into their vehicles.

The electronics retailer had people camped out at its store since Sunday, said David Gonzales, a manager at Best Buy.

He said the company has its employees do training and drills to prepare for the increased traffic.

“It’s very organized,” Gonzales said.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is